Liberal media 'fact-checkers' continue assault on cancer victim, facts notwithstanding

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Published by: Dan Calabrese on Friday March 14th, 2014

Out for blood.

We told you a couple of weeks ago about Julie Boonstra, a Dexter, Michigan leukemia patient who appeared in a commercial paid for by Americans for Prosperity after her very good health insurance was ripped out from under her by ObamaCare, prompting her to go on record as saying her new insurance was unaffordable. That prompted Washington Post "fact checker" Glenn Kessler to accuse her of being a liar, even though he never talked to her.

Boonstra's story has died down at bit at the national level, but it's been raging in Michigan, where liberal media in the state are piling on.

Unfortunately, Michigan has its own version of these dumbass "fact checker" outfits in which liberal opinion writers disguise themselves as fact checkers and presume to pronounce high and mighty judgment on who is telling the truth and who is lying. This particularly horrendous outfit would be the so-called "Michigan Truth Squad," which is run by something called the "Center for Michigan," where liberal activists and journalists dishonestly label themselves as centrists and perpetrate liberal activism under the guise of non-partisanship.

So Boonstra came in for another round of abuse this week as the so-called "Truth Squad" ran a piece that did little more than plagiarize Kessler's hit job of two weeks ago, then pronounced Boonstra's recounting of her own personal story a "flagrant foul." I guess the propagandists - er, sorry, "fact checkers" - at the so-called "Michigan Truth Squad" think they are basketball referees. The Detroit Pistons could use hacks like this in their back pockets.

I wrote two pieces for the Detroit News this week in defense of Boonstra. The first pointed out that the "fact checkers" have really not even been dealing with Boonstra's actual problem. They merely add up her premiums and the listed out-of-pocket spending limits and act as though this is the beginning and end of the story with respect to health insurance. The second, which is largely reprinted here, is based on additional reporting about Boonstra's actual situation.

Anyone who has ever dealt with a health insurer can tell you there is a lot more to what you may or may not spend on your health care than totals of premiums and supposed out-of-pocket limits.

To date, Boonstra has not even received a contract from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. She has only received a “statement of benefits.” Would you take an insurance company at its word based on a “statement of benefits” without having read the fine print in the contract? Apparently The Washington Post and the so-called “Michigan Truth Squad” would. Julie Boonstra is a lot smarter than they are.

But there are some things she does know, based on the statement of benefits she received:

  • Long-term care and nursing care are not covered. Since Boonstra’s leukemia diagnosis five years ago, she spent two-and-a-half years bed-ridden. If that happens again, she’s got a big problem.
  • The statement of benefits says glaucoma is not covered. Leukemia is a disease that ravages every part of the body, so lack of coverage for glaucoma (or even dental care, which is also highly relevant for a leukemia patient and is also not covered) is a very serious issue.
  • Boonstra is on five different medications to help deal with her leukemia. The Blue Cross PR spokesman claimed that they are all covered. But when Boonstra went to fill her prescription for Loratadine — a prescription-level equivalent of Claritin that she uses to control congestion brought on by chemotherapy — she was told that Loratadine is not covered. She has not yet attempted to restock any of her other meds but she is already having to come with strategies to deal with that problem.
  • The $5,100 cap on Boonstra’s out-of-pocket spending is for in-network care only. If she has to go out of network, she could spend an additional $10,200. The “fact checkers” treat this as impossible because Boonstra’s doctor is in network, but anyone who has ever dealt with cancer would know there is no way of predicting where you will have to go to find care.
  • When Boonstra was first diagnosed, she had to go through a painstaking process to get approval for her chemotherapy drugs to be covered. When she finally found insurance she liked, she had no problem with the chemo drugs. She now says that process is starting all over again.
  • Boonstra has already had to cut back on her bone marrow biopsies, which she was having on a regular schedule she had worked out with her doctor, because she doesn’t have clarification on whether these will be covered.

I could go on, but the bottom line is this: Julie Boonstra told the truth, and arrogant media “fact checkers” had a lot of nerve claiming she hadn’t when they never even talked to her.

With her old insurance, she knew exactly what was covered and exactly how to budget for the spending. With her new insurance, she knows for sure that some important things are not covered based on her statement of benefits, and she is far from certain that other things will be. What’s more, she hasn’t even received a contract yet, so there is no telling what other fine print might put her coverage in jeopardy.

The “fact checkers” didn’t report any of this. All they did was add up premiums and out-of-pocket limits, and conclude on that basis that a woman whose life in danger — and whose excellent insurance has just been replaced by a nightmare collection of uncertainties — was a liar. Boonstra relayed through Hagerstrom that throughout this entire hulabaloo, no journalist has asked her about any of the issues detailed here.

We live in a strange time in American politics. It wasn’t that long ago — like, maybe two years — when a cancer victim struggling with insurance coverage would receive a sympathetic ear from the news media.

They might even send one of those “consumer advocate” teams to shove cameras in the faces of the insurance officials and demand to know how they could be so heartless.

What the media would surely not do, after hearing of a cancer patient struggling with insurance, would be this:

  • Contact the insurance company.
  • Receive assurance from the insurance company’s PR spokesman that everything was just fine.
  • Report that the cancer victim’s story was “debunked” and call her a liar.

But that was before health insurance companies became water-carriers for Obamacare, which turned the entire dynamic on its head.

Now, if you contend that government policy has messed up your health insurance and left you the worse for wear, you’d better be able to prove it, or some self-important “fact-checker” will give you Pinocchios, or call a flagrant foul on you, whatever that means.

It's really astonishing when you think about it. Apparently we've said goodbye to the days when the news media would hold government accountable for the way it treated citizens. Now, when a citizen comes forward with a grievance against the government, the media attacks the citizen, even to the point of calling her a liar when they don't know the half of her situation.

That is one of the reasons I've stayed on this story so doggedly. What's being done to Julie Boonstra is truly egregious and I have a lot of sympathy for her as an individual. But in a broader sense, it is absolutely horrifying to see the supposedly independent media attacking citizens who do nothing more than come forward to make it known they've been hurt by government policy. Apparently the media now sees its mission as protecting the institutions of the state against pesky individuals who suffer loss as a result of these institutions' malfeasance.

That is a threat to the survival of this nation, pure and simple, and it needs to be opposed. These dumbass media "fact checker" outfits who pose as arbiters of truth are the most egregious example on the scene today, and people need to understand that.

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